Nervous Kurds stocked up on arms to defend themselves as Islamic State takfiri terrorist who seized Iraq's biggest dam have brought in engineers for repairs, witnesses said on Saturday.
According to Reuters, employees of foreign oil firms in were flying out. Kurds were snapping up AK-47 assault rifles in arms Erbil markets for fear of imminent attack, although these had been ineffective against the superior firepower of the Islamic State terrorists.
Given the Islamic State threat, a source in the Kurdistan Regional Government said it had received extra supplies of heavy weaponry from the Baghdad federal government "and other governments" in the past few days, but declined to elaborate.
An engineer at Mosul dam told Reuters that Islamic State fighters had brought in engineers to repair an emergency power line to the city, Iraq's biggest in the north, that had been cut off four days ago, causing power outages and water shortages.
"They are gathering people to work at the dam," he said.
A dam administrator said that militants were putting up the trademark Islamic State black flags and patrolling with flatbed trucks mounted with machineguns to protect the facility they seized from Kurdish forces earlier this week.
The rebels have captured wide swathes of northern Iraq since June, executing non-Sunni Muslim captives, displacing tens of thousands of people and drawing the first U.S. air strikes in the region since Washington withdrew troops in 2011.
After routing Kurdish forces this week, Islamic State terrorists are just 30 minutes' drive from Erbil, the Kurdish regional capital which up to now has been spared the sectarian bloodshed that has scarred other parts of Iraq for a decade.
The U.S. Defense Department said two F/A-18 warplanes from an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf had dropped laser-guided 500-pound bombs on Islamic State artillery batteries. Other air strikes targeted mortar positions and an Islamic State convoy.
U.S. delivers aid airdrop to Iraqis fleeing militant surge
The U.S. launched a new airdrop Saturday to aid thousands of members of an Iraqi minority group who fled the advance of the Islamic State group, trying to stem a worsening humanitarian crisis in a country reeling from the extremist offensive, AP reported.
The extremists have captured hundreds of women from the Yazidi religious minority, according to an Iraqi official, while thousands of other civilians fled in fear.
Many of America's allies backed the U.S. intervention, pledging urgent steps to assist the legions of refugees and displaced people. Those in jeopardy included thousands of members of the Yazidi whose plight — trapped on a mountaintop by the militants — prompted the U.S. to airdrop crates of food and water to them.
Yazidis belong to ancient religion seen by the Islamic State group as heretical. The group also sees Shiite Muslims as apostates, and has demanded Christians either convert to Islam or pay a special tax.
American planes conducted a second airdrop of food and water early Saturday for those trapped in the Sinjar mountains, said Pentagon chief spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby. Escorted by two Navy fighter jets, three planes dropped 72 bundles of supplies for the refugees, including more than 28,000 meals and more than 1,500 gallons of water, said Kirby, who spoke from New Delhi during a trip with U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
The extremists' "campaign of terror against the innocent, including the Yazidi and Christian minorities, and its grotesque and targeted acts of violence bear all the warning signs and hallmarks of genocide," said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. "For anyone who needed a wake-up call, this is it."
Later Friday, the U.S. launched a second round of airstrikes near Irbil, U.S. officials said. The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss the strikes publicly, said unmanned aircraft hit a mortar and four Navy F/A-18 fighter jets destroyed a seven-vehicle convoy.
According to the UN, more than 500,000 people have been displaced by the violence in Iraq since June, bringing the total this year to well over 1 million.
Obama: U.S. won't be dragged into another Iraq war
U.S. President Barack Obama said the United States can't and shouldn't intervene in every world crisis. But he said when innocent people face a massacre and the U.S. has the ability to stop it, the nation shouldn't look away.
Obama discussed his rationale for authorizing airstrikes in Iraq in his weekly radio and Internet address. Obama said the U.S. will continue with targeted strikes if necessary.
Obama said he won't allow the U.S. to be dragged into another war in Iraq. But he said the U.S. will protect Americans and prevent terrorists from having a safe haven.
ISIL terrorists kill 17 civilians in northern Iraq
Takfiri terrorists executed 17 civilians from the Shabak minority in Iraq’s northern province of Nineveh.
The head of the Shabak minority said the ISIL terrorist group has now seized around 60 villages north of the city of Mosul, Al-Alam reported.
He urged the Iraqi air force to target the terrorists in northern areas.
He said the terrorists have killed over a hundred members of his Kurdish Shia community since the start of their attacks in June.